Capsized Trawler Adrift Disappearing Act in South Africa

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

May 5, 2015

Photo credit: NSRI

Photo credit: NSRI

 South Africa’s charity National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) was warning fishermen and other boaters in and around the Cape Peninsula and False Bay Coast to be aware of a “barely visible” capsized boat. A few days later though, the wreck had disappeared!

 
 NSRI warned that that a large fishing vessel capsized and has been floating in a shipping lane some 9.8 miles south off Cape Point since May 1.
 
The wreck had first been sighted by local fishermen returning from deep sea on Thursday. They reported their find to the NSRI in Simon's Town.
 
The NSRI had inspected the hulk, but its tug was not big enough to tow it.  Hence they marked it with strobe lights attached to life jackets to ensure the safety of fishermen at night.
 
Smit Amandla Marine, the company contracted to respond to maritime emergencies off of the South African coast, has warned that the vessel’s hull is made from fiberglass and cannot be detected by radar.
 
According to a marine biologist and NSRI volunteer, the shipwreck could have been about two months old based on barnacle growth seen on the vessel. Institute workers attached life-jacket strobe lights on the boat Friday to help make it more visible to others who might pass near it.
 
But later NSRI said there isn’t any indication that the ship has sunk. Mark Steed with the South African Maritime Authority told Cape News that the air force and other vessels were asked to keep an eye out for the ship, which was upside down with its propeller visible.
 
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